Saturday, 14 June 2014

italy week: testing the waters

In the province of Pistoia in Tuscany, there is an ancient storied town called Montecatini, known since pre-history as a strategic stronghold, with the oldest parts of the settlement built on the high (Alto) promontory, and later renowned for its ensemble of spas.
The thermal springs were harnessed for years with the plumbing of different civilizations but evolved into their current form during the height of the Art Déco movement. There are several resorts within the city, all ornate and inviting but designed to cater to different classes, from the proletariat to the upper-crust.
This most luxurious playground is a period folly called Terme Tettuccio, with its grand porches and galleries, like a very fancy neo-Classic train-station of the age except open and with that invisible fourth wall surely for those relaxing and testing the waters to be seen by their peers and passersby in the gardens.
There are quite elaborate and old baths in Germany but none with such an airy design that we have found yet. There is also of course the therapeutic waters on tap from several fountains lining the arcade, decorated with these beautiful mosaics that suggested the different waters were ideal for the different ages of life.
 Only a few taps were open at the time and youth tasted of sulfur—and smelled of eggs a bit. There was an authentic café, cavernous and fully lined in dark-stained wood, dating from the time with all the classic fixtures and fittings of the associated culture and ceremony and we were able to enjoy a coffee in the sun.